Hello folks, thanks for joining me once again. I've been ever so busy this week at a training course about Human Factors that affect safety in hospitals. I am on a course to learn to become an instructor, and a very intensive but interesting course it has been too. I have had little time for jewellery this week, but have been putting time into my winter collection during every spare moment I found. I hope to have the pieces all photographed and revealed by the end of this month. I have to say that I really love the necklaces and pearls feature heavily in the collection. There is nothing more elegant than a string of pearls, and there are so many new ways to string a pearl necklace - no more grandma's strand of pearls for us!
Bead and Jewellery (Vol 81) magazine came out with one of my tutorials in it - the Gold Rush Necklace.
The actual piece is on the website on the Lagenlook jewellery page of the website, but you can send for the magazine if you fancy learning to make it yourself.
I've made this necklace before - and it has been consistently loved and people have requested it over and over again, so when I found some of the spacers lying in my stash, I quickly ran up another. I love the song too and Lady Gaga, although not my favourite artiste, has made such a good job of this album with the wonderful Tony Bennett, I couldn't resist playing it for you, enjoy!!
These polymer clay disc beads were made a while earlier and I put the necklace together - I love the resin accent bead, which I brought back from a trip to India a couple of years ago. The necklace is light and easy to wear, and very flexible - being almost monochrome, it will go with anything.
That's all I've had time for this week folks. Have a lovely week and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place,
Hello folks, thanks for joining me today. I hope you've had a chilled out week. WIth autumn nipping at our heels and only 73 days to Christmas, I've been busy making party wear for Caprilicious. I've acquired a load of micro pave diamante studded beads, clasps and findings and am enjoying putting them together. This time, I've taken pictures as I've gone along. I've also managed to persuade Lorna, a very pretty lady who works with me, to model them for me and will have a reveal date soon.
Last week I made Feria and I decided to wear it - a trial run if you like. The necklace certainly attracted a lot of attention and I was pleased with it.
I decided to make a second one with accents of pink and purple.
So now there are two of them - which one do you like?? The one with the blue accents or the one with the pinks and purple?
One of my customers asked if I would make her a necklace with baroque pearls interspersed with little gemstones that resembled sea glass. She had once borrowed a necklace such as this from a friend and was keen to own one herself. While she looked for a picture of the original piece, I sent her pictures of the beads I had in my stash that looked even vaguely like sea glass, knowing all the while that she obviously had something specific in her mind and nothing else would fit the bill. And as I brought out string after string of gemstones, I designed this necklace in my mind - I put the baroque pearls with tiny apatite and peridot beads as I felt that anything larger would detract from the beauty of the pearls which are about 13-14 mm in size and colour enhanced to a pale silvery grey. I named it Danieli - after the lovely Danielle, as she was more or less responsible for this piece, and the most beautiful hotel in Venice - I saw it in a movie and knew that I had to stay there, it is a baroque palazzo converted into a fabulous hotel. I have to say it was every bit as wonderful as the film made it out to be, and I loved every minute of my stay there.
I'm pleased to report that the necklace has been snapped up!
The next three pieces have used up pendants that been sitting in my stash - well, I'm ashamed to say I've been hoarding them ever since I brought them back from Jaipur a couple of years ago. I take them out at regular intervals and stroke them, enjoying the way they shine and then put them right back in their box. I decided that I would string them and share them with the world. So here we are....
This necklace is so pretty - I love iolite and in combination with yellow topaz and silver, it is irresistible.
Not that I'm wishing for snow or anything, but this snowflake pendant, set with garnets seems apt for this time of year. Garnets are so sumptuous, I decided to pair them with a pale, icy blue quartz - these beads are to die for. Faceted to reflect every bit of light that comes their way, they are uber gorgeous and I kept the rest simple, with little seed pearls separating them. And the clasp - oh, it is so pretty that it gave me so many pangs to actually use it, I just love looking at it so. It will, however, be equally good to share it with someone when it gets its forever owner.
The beads in this necklace are made from slices of stalactites that have been colour enhanced and are called solar quartz.
Solar quartz is a natural agatized quartz that is sliced from stalactites in clear, white or gray, with mossy inclusions. It is thought to be an energy enhancer, connecting to spirit and harmony, and is said to bring emotional strength to the wearer. Solar quartz is often dyed vivid colors as natural stalactites do not have any coloring.
The edges of the beads are irregular and because I thought they would be rough on the neck, i used shiny glass beads at the back of the necklace. The Fleur De Lys pendant also came from Jaipur - and this is the last one in my stash! I'll just have to go and get some more, won't I?
And that's a wrap for this week, folks. Have a lovely week, and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Hello readers, thanks for joining me again today. Of the saddest words, 'If only' are probably the worst. This week, I'm feeling nostalgic for my youth - if only I was younger - and I won't tell you by how much, as some things are best left to the imagination, I would have learned to dance. There was a dance class after school hours that I yearned to attend, but I wasn't allowed to join it.
Instead, I was sent to a piano class at lunchtime notwithstanding the fact that my fingers were like bunches of bananas, I was useless at it and the beatings from the nuns every day only emphasised that. A piano was duly bought for me to practice on at home, with the notion that 'if you practice hard enough, and long enough, you can be good at anything', completely disregarding a singular lack of talent - I felt like an orangutan sitting at the instrument, banging out all the wrong notes and hated the piano for broadcasting to everyone loud and clear how useless I was, with every bum note I struck.
All I ever wanted to do was go to the dance class and I think it would have helped with deportment, weight control and a paralysing self - consciousness and diffidence when it came to public performance. Unfortunately it was never to be, so I just have to feed my love for that art form by watching others and looking a pictures and paintings.
The drawings of Edgar Degas are some of my favourite ballet pictures, and I once spent a whole day at an exhibition, lost in their magic, forgetting where I was and not noticing anyone around me. When I get this feeling of nostalgic yearning, I've decided that I shall assuage it with a piece of jewellery using a dance form as inspiration.
The mint green dragon's vein agate beads came from Jaipur, as did the pendant. Of course at the time, I just picked up what caught my eye and they lay in a box together until I looked at a few Degas images and Bingo! the necklace was born. I added tiny pearls, and silver foil beads, also from Jaipur and I was done. Smoky topaz is one of my favourite stones and the plump gems in the pendant, cushion cut into these faceted beauties caused me to fall in love at first sight.
Misty Copeland was the first African-American woman to be named a principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre. Now, with the help of the NYC Dance Project, she’s recreated some of the famous ballet paintings of Edgar Degas.
To see more pictures of the NYC Dance Project have a look at this article.
I made my first version of Feria a few months ago and placed it at the Mitchell Art Gallery where to my surprise and pleasure it was snapped up almost immediately. In the meantime I had so many enquiries about it that eventually I decided to make another one, and here it is. This version is a bit more colourful than the original necklace and I hope it will be received with the same degree of enthusiasm as the first.
I've been working on a little collection of formal Bling jewellery to wear to parties - perhaps parties with your boss or your future mother in law - something where letting your hair down and tequila shots are not part of the deal. The necklaces will be ready in the second or third week of October, and I look forward to unveiling them.
Well, that's all I have for you folks. Have a lovely week and I'll catch you next week, same time, same place.
Hello folks, thanks for joining me again. I've had so much to do this last week putting the final touches to the Lagenlook line of jewellery, photographing them and editing the pictures ready for the website. Jackie, who is a midwife at the hospital, came round after a morning at work, with her Lagenlook outfits and a tube of red lipstick, and I posed her in my garden. The sun came out obligingly to light up the proceedings and we had a fun afternoon. I took more pictures of the necklaces when she left and ended up with over a hundred pictures to crop and edit. So, here they are in glorious technicolour.
I wanted to show the jewellery off on a live model and Jackie certainly looks stunning - I don't think she realised how nice the pictures would be, she thought I was flattering her in order to gain her services as my model.
I hope you like the collection - I've used a load of jewellery making techniques in these pieces. I've had a little boutique in London show interest in some of these pieces and we are discussing terms as I type. I like the more outlandish pieces - Worn to be WIld, and the Chinese Coin are my favourites in this collection and I'm sure they will be enjoyed by some discerning woman when they find their forever home.
I made a pair of earrings using little ceramic ghouls from Peru - crowned with flowers a la Kahlo, these ghouls ended up looking cuter than any self respecting spectre would like, but I think they're fabulous. They have little baleful eyes, glazed in a shiny yellow - or perhaps they only look unfriendly because they are annoyed by the crown of flowers that spoil the mean look they like best! They look absolutely pi***d off and totally cute.
That's as much as I have time for folks. I have already started to put together a Christmas line, just now it's mostly in my head but will soon be a reality. I am going to a Christmas market at the beginning of December at The Custard Factory in Birmingham - this one is run by a collective of people who have shops on Etsy, living in and around Birmingham. We have a photoshoot for the market next weekend and I will meet the others then, very exciting!
Have a fabulous week and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Hello folks, nice to see you again today. I am in sunny Bristol as you read this, at a NHS conference surrounded by midwives and obstetricians. It has been three days and I will soon be back home with hubby and the cat who are waiting patiently for me.
On Sunday, I shall reveal the new collection for Autumn - showy necklaces that can be worn over winter clothes and sweaters - the Caprilicious Line of Lagenlook jewellery.
I've been hard at work putting this small collection together and as I've made most of the elements myself, I've really enjoyed assembling them. I decided to ask one of the midwives who works in the unit to model them for me and she was happy to oblige. She came by on Tuesday after work, with a bag of her linen dresses and patiently changed outfits and jewellery while I clicked away. She looks fabulous, don't you think??
So, 'what's different about this range?', I hear you ask. Well, for one thing, the pieces are meant to wear with winter gear, although they can of course be worn all year round - in the throes of winter, I usually bundle up in warm sweaters and loads of layers. These can be quite heavy and the last thing I would want is a weighty necklace to make matters worse. Winters are drab and depressing, what with the rain and snow, mist and fog, dry skin, runny noses and frozen extremities. To make matters worse, the clothes are usually dark and monochrome, so the injection of a bit of colour into the proceedings never goes amiss. I always like to wear a vibrant piece of jewellery to brighten up my day and give my outfit a bit of ZING!
So here's a sneak peek at a couple of necklaces I made for the Lagenlook line - the rest will be on show on the website and Facebook page on Sunday the 24th.
In the meantime, I shall leave you with the only necklace I made that does not belong in the Lagenlook Collection. The beautiful agate slab nuggets were sent to me by a friend in a bead swap and I couldn't resist putting them in a necklace. I guess it will have to be worn when warm swaddling isn't a necessity.
The pendant is a work of art with a mosaic of abalone, black lip oyster mother of pearl, and a Siva Eye at the centre. There are some very lustrous beads, pearls, blue agate, blue silvered glass beads, and loads of seed beads along with the beautiful black and translucent agate slab nuggets. I love interesting shaped beads and these are a delight to look at and to touch.
Do come and visit the website on Sunday when the Lagenlook line will be up and running on it's own page.
Have a great week and I'll catch you mext Friday, same time, same place,
Hello folks, how are you today? The air is getting distinctly nippy and although fortunately it isn't hurricane season in the UK, we've had our first named storm this week - Aileen has brought winds of 75mph to the UK. The leaves are still green on the trees around us, but not for long. The garden is looking a bit bedraggled and loads of flowers need deadheading, but I haven't had the time.
As the nights get longer and the days decidedly cooler, necklines creep upwards towards the chin and sleeves grow longer. It isn't cold enough for swaddling oneself in coats and scarves but necklaces close to the neck aren't as effective any more. I've been working on a new line of jewellery for a little boutique in Birmingham and while I made these, I made a few for Caprilicious.
Lagenlook - What is it?
The necklaces, we have established, need to be designed so that they can be worn with high necklines and sweaters. I love Lagenlook clothes, and spring and autumn are when they really come into their own. I've always dressed this way, in loose and flowing garments, with waistcoats, and asymmetrical hemlines and was amazed to discover that this style actually has a name! Lagenlook - or the layered look. It refers to a fashion movement that started in Japan and Europe around 3 decades ago. It has developed a strong niche in Europe and the UK but is only slowly starting to infiltrate Australia and the USA.
Of course, working as a NHS consultant in an ultra conservative country, my daytime look has to be toned down somewhat, but, given the chance, I love my harem pants from Indonesia, loose, long shirts, waistcoats, and colourful shoes that I buy in India - they are called 'Joothis' and are made of embroidered leather and originate in Rajasthan.
Having spent half my life attempting to conform with my peers, it was a lightbulb moment when I realised that I would never truly blend in; neither in the East, nor in the West and that I should be my own person. That one flash of insight has injected so much colour and fun into my life. My imagination has truly taken flight and I don't feel the need to squeeze my feet into prissy little kitten heels and my body into Chanel suits - I feel so much better for that!
So then, these new pieces of jewellery are designed for quirky people, bohemian souls and people who celebrate the word 'different'. Ladies who like 'normal' may not like these, but there are plenty of other pieces on the website that would appeal to them. I've asked one of our senior midwives to come over to model these pieces for the website - Jackie is also a lover of Lagenlook, and is a very striking woman. I asked her if she would like to model for Caprilicious, and she said yes straight away. I have a day off on the Tuesday next week and she's coming in after work to wear the pieces for me. I shall have my nose to the grindstone all weekend, putting the finishing touches to the necklaces.
Ok, I know what you're thinking - 'where's this jewellery then, what's this hype all about? It's not like her, she's usually showing us pictures of her jewellery from every conceivable angle'. I have to say, I haven't any pictures, mainly because most of the pieces are half finished, some of them need to go back in the oven, others need embellishing, and still others are in my head and will be made over the weekend. However, here's one picture I took of a half finished necklace - I took it to show a friend who wanted to know what I was working on.
Why do these necklaces take so long to make? - the bottom piece has an insert of fold formed copper embedded into it - after it was fold formed and annealed it was textured with dimpling pliers, and a couple of sterling silver balls soldered to it. A patina and shine with steel wool completed the preparation of the copper which was embedded in black clay. Another piece was crafted resembling a shard of wood, and a third resembling bone. The necklet was made to look like faux bone, all of them were patinated and buffed, and a way to connect the four pieces devised. I then used waxed linen thread in macrame knots to provide the fringe. Oh, I forgot the pieces of copper wire that I cut up and balled the ends in a flame. This piece is the most outrageous piece in the collection, in comparison the others are very tame, including the ones still in my head. And the fun of it all is that I have used every jewellery making skill I have learned over the years, except metal clay.
And I'm afraid that's it, that's all I have for you this week. Have a fabulous week and I'll catch you next week, same time, same place.
Hello folks, how are you this week? I've been a busy little bee, flitting from flower to flower, making one thing and another and am so pleased that my efforts have been rewarded. I had a number of half finished projects in a box waiting patiently for the last touches that would make them truly beautiful (hopefully) in my eyes and I set out to finish them off. Our suitcases finally arrived, three days after we did, so while I waited there was no unpacking to do and acres of time to fill and I decided to use it productively.
I wove a torque necklace before I went on holiday and it was the first candidate I picked for a makeover. I had some copper flowers in my stash that I had rediscovered after a couple of years - Oh, that reminds me I haven't shown you the earrings I made with the flowers, either. Anyway, I used the rest of these flowers in the torque necklace, and tucked a few large crystal beads under them so that they flash with movement. I wasn't prepared for the love this necklace received when I put it on Facebook though, and that it sold within the week.
Here are the earrings I made with the other flowers - I soldered them to copper backings that had been fold formed or texturised, and then patinated them with verdigris and red oxide patinas, sealed the patinas and hung the earrings on contemporary silver earwires.
I've always found copper a rather masculine metal and have made attempts to feminise it by the addition of flowers, pearls and silver - I think it works well in a modernistic bohemian sort of way. Would you agree??
I had a conversation with one of my returning customers from the USA. She has a bubbly personality and likes her jewellery to reflect that. She said she'd love to have a piece of jewellery created just for her- she wanted me to use carnelian beads and I suggested a turquoise focal to go with it. She asked me to make her 'something using carnelian beads and a pendant that is fun, not staid and boring' and I spent about five days painstakingly stitching around a turquoise blue howlite bead until I was satisfied that it was sufficiently 'fun' enough to satisfy the lady. I then unearthed a strand of carnelian petal beads that I'd been hoarding and strung the pendant.
There's always a moment of anxiety before the reveal - will she like it, will she find it fun enough? I put it out on Facebook and people said how nice it was. However, it had been created especially for one person and if she hated it, I would have been gutted. I needn't have worried. I WhatsApped her a picture and her excitement was palpable. Here's what she said. "I saw it. OMG Thank YOU!!!! 😍Love the vibrancy of the colors. Definitely a smile-from-within piece!! Absolutely!! Not boring at all. Says - fun, vibrant, mischievous, bold, daring, sparkly and indomitable".
So she liked it then, that was reassuring!
This piece took so much time and effort that her words were music to my ears and I sank into a relaxed, happy stupor. I went back to the day job and as usual September is manically busy from all the Christmas conceived babies.
That's me for this week, folks. Have a fabulous week, and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Hello readers, how are you? I am writing to you from sunny Nice, the sun is shining here and all is well in this part of the world. We were here a couple of years ago, and I wrote about it then - you will find that post here, if you fancy a quick recap.
My lovely nephew just qualified as a dentist and this trip is a little treat from his aunt and uncle for having kept his nose to the grindstone for so many years. We are at Le Negresco on the Promenade des Anglais and have had a really fun time for the last few days. It will soon be time to return home, we go back to the UK in a couple of days, and he goes back to India with his mother, in time to start his first post as an intern.
We took a trip to Monte Carlo, and went to the Casino - fortunately, we got there at around midday, and were allowed to take photographs as the gambling only starts at 2pm after which photography is not allowed. I am not a gambler at heart, and that was fine by me, although I think the other members of the party would have been happy to chuck a few pennies at the tables - after all, the House always wins! I enjoyed the ambience, and took loads of photographs. One needs photo id and to pay 17Euros to be allowed in and once I'd paid up, I wandered around, clicking away happily.
We did all the usual things, walking into the old town, wandering the antique market, a drive to Eze, the little village outside Nice perched on a hillside, and walked miles and miles around the Côte d'Azur. I know I shall need another holiday to recover from this one and have taken the precaution of booking a couple of extra days off work when I get home.
I took some of my unisex jewellery out to Nice and got my nephew to model the pieces for me - I always think a live model is best, but unfortunately cannot always find one to wear my jewellery when I require it. I even tried it out in black and white - which ones do you prefer?
Have a lovely week, folks, I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Hello folks, thanks for joining me once again. I do so enjoy this weekly chat I have with you, my invisible friends. It would be nice if you posted back at me occasionally - are you sure I can't persuade you to leave me a comment?? I read them all and respond, I promise. We are soon to go on a short break to the Cote d'Azure, so I'll be telling you all about that next time. It will be nice to get some R & R for a short while and we are looking forward to it - except WIlfred the cat, who will have to go to prison for the duration.
I was only sixteen when this song was all the rage, in the Indian equivalent of a sixth form, or pre university college. The songs of Abba always make me shudder slightly as they bring back memories of the late seventies when I was young, diffident, and in a co-ed environment for the first time.
The boys at the college were extremely gauche and unsure of their reception should they make a move on the girls. I know the same is true of teenage boys everywhere, but especially and markedly so at this place, where the boys were in a co - ed environment for the first time themselves, in a fairly repressive society where the segregation of the sexes is the norm.
I was in a group of three girls, and there was this lad who followed us around carrying a portable cassette player in bright red plastic playing 'Nina, Pretty Ballerina' on a loop. We didn't know his name and he was known to us as 'Red Cassette'.
Mind you, at the time, in common with most teenage girls, I was conscious of my weight and felt more like a galumphing elephant than a ballerina.
This lad got on the bus with us every evening and walked 5 paces behind me all the way from the bus stop like a good Indian wife, till I reached my mother's house and went in past the huge iron gates - there was never a word between us in two years and this went on for the whole time that I attended the college. Today, it makes me laugh, but then, at the age of sixteen, it was a bit scary, as I had no idea how this saga would end - as it happened it was a damp squib, but at the time it seemed a lot like harassment. In hindsight, I should have turned around and asked him what the hell he wanted and he'd have probably slunk off, but he could have just as easily got his friends to follow me around making my life hell for the duration, so I was probably wise to leave him alone to his madness.
I have a confession, this was originally two necklaces - one with a single strand of feathers and the second, with three strands of nugget beads and Nepalese spacers. I just felt they went together and Ummmed and Aaahed all evening - I went to bed and woke up ready to remake the necklace - I cut them up before I could change my mind. I find that it is often difficult to make the decision to undo my work at the end of an evening when I am tired. I spend time telling myself that it is fine, and that it will be OK - but 'OK' is not what I'm aiming for and I always end up redoing the piece. I ought to know better and not bother wasting time trying to talk myself out of it. I hope that when it finds it's forever home, the woman who wears it feels like a Dancing Queen.
I've been playing with folding metal, fire, soldering, and patinas with some degree of success. I forgot to neutralise the piece I had left in an acid bath and absent mindedly wiped it on a skirt I was wearing only to find later on in the day that the acid had burned a big hole in my skirt - a bit more respect for the acid pickle is warranted, I think.
And no, I didn't make the flowers, they were bought pre made and I practiced sweat soldering them onto the copper circles that I cut with another of my new tools - I love new tools!!
I received a copy of Bead and Jewellery magazine, vol 80 in the post with a tutorial I wrote in it. The beads I submitted will be back soon and I will have to make something interesting with them.
That's me for this week folks. Have a fabulous week and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Hello readers, thanks for joining me again today. We are in mid August now and there are but 18 weeks, or 129 days to Christmas. That means that autumn is just around the corner but I refuse to think about that, all I want to do is to enjoy the last few days of summer left to us.
I spent my days as a child in tropical warmth where we were required to stay out of the sun and we spent our days cowering indoors till the sun was low on the horizon. As kids we couldn't understand the idyllic life the kids in Enid Blyton books seemed to live - long summer holidays basking in the sun, scoffing lemonade and tinned peaches. Now that I live in more temperate climes, I want to go out and sit in the sun lest I blink and miss it altogether - I have to confess that tinned peaches are overrated, in my opinion.
This week, I made a necklace with coral beads I received in a bead swap from a friend who lives in Scotland. She makes exquisite, dainty pieces of jewellery at AleksandraDesigns and didn't want the coral, so we rummaged around in our collections and came to a very satisfactory mutual arrangement. The coral heishi beads are irregular and very brightly coloured. I teamed them with wood jasper rectangles, slab nuggets of chalcedony and some chunks of bloodstone that a friend sent me from the USA when I first started out in 2011. Artisan made Nepalese beads, inlaid with turquoise and coral, and bone beads from Tibet, hand carved and coloured red and blue were added for even more colour and interest - just in case the coral wasn't showy enough!
It paid me to have that clear out as I found so many pretty beads that I'd forgotten about in my collection and I can't wait to use them as I go along.
I made these earrings to go with the necklace I designed for my customer in Bangalore. As the necklace is very flamboyant, I kept the earrings small and simple. They are about the size of a fifty pence piece - and for those whom that analogy means nothing, the earrings are about one and a half inches long.
My sister in law went to a party wearing this necklace - I made it a couple of years ago and it isn't one of my more flamboyant pieces.
Someone at the party fell in love with the necklace and had me make one for her, having obtained permission from my sister in law - I will be sending a whole bunch of pieces to India at the end of the month so thought it was about time I got it made and ready for delivery.
That's me for this week, folks. I'm working at the day job this weekend and hope to salvage a bit of time to play with an idea I've been incubating for a while. Come back next week and see if it worked. Have a lovely week in the meantime and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
I'm Neena Shilvock, and I'm crazily addicted to jewellery. I've been designing and making quirky and interesting statement necklaces for the last five years and my passion hasn't cooled off one little bit - in fact it has got worse, such that I'm even dreaming jewellery.
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I would love to hear from you - please leave a comment on the blog or send an email to jewellerybycaprilicious(at)gmail.com
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